Adamczk, B., Jack, H., “Creating Continuity in the Engineering Curriculum Through Laboratory Experiences”, ASEE North Central Section Meeting Proceedings, Cleveland, March 2001.


FINAL PAPER LOCATE LATER .......................


Creating Continuity Through Laboratory Experiences

B. Adamczyk and H. Jack


At Grand Valley State University we have been developing a thread in the curriculum based upon instrumentation and writing. This thread begins in a fourth semester circuits course (EGR 214 Circuits I). In this laboratory course all engineering students learn to use multimeters, power supplies and oscilloscopes to make electrical measurements as part of formal laboratory experiments. The laboratory reports are written in a formal report. The course also includes a reviewed paper that was used to strengthen writing skills. The laboratories for this course are taught by faculty members from both the electrical, and other disciplines.

The circuits course is followed in the fifth semester by a systems analysis course (EGR 345 Dynamic System Modeling and Control). This course also includes laboratories that build upon the laboratory experience in EGR 214. The continuity includes instrumentation, writing and faculty teaching the labs.

The paper describes the continuity between an Electrical Engineering course (EGR 214) and a Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering course (EGR 345). This has allowed unique opportunities to build upon topics and build writing skills, while preventing students from compartmentalizing the circuits topics from following courses.


Mechanical and manufacturing engineering students often taken a circuits course, including laboratory experiences.

This experience is often separated from later experiences in other mechanical engineering courses

This loses a valuable opportunity to start threads in the curriculum

Laboratories include the use of simple equipment such as multimeters

but this is not used in later courses.

mechanical students often disconnected from electrical courses

The Circuits Course

The basic details of EGR 214 - Circuits I

Third semester, all engineering students

Laboratory components

Written report during semester

Topics include

Basic components - resistors, caps, inductors, power supplies, op-amps, etc

KVL, KCL, mesh, node, thevinen-norton, etc.


Instruments in EGR 214 include,

Fluke multimeters

Tektronics oscilloscopes with pen plotters

Current Limiting power supplies

CADET trainers

Laboratory experiences in EGR 214 include

Bogdan add here XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Systems Analysis Course

The basic details of EGR 345 - Dynamic Systems Modeling and Control

Fourth semester after secondary admit

Laboratory components

A design/build project during the semester leading to a written report

Topics include

Modeling electrical and mechanical systems with differential equations

Solving differential equations with calculus techniques

Solving differential equations numerically

Cannonical forms of differential equations

Laplace transform methods

Bode plots, root locus, block diagrams

Feedback controls

Instruments in EGR 345 include,

Fluke Multimeters

Tektronics oscilloscopes

Current Limiting power supplies

Computers with Labview and DAQ cards

CADET trainers

Laboratory experiments include

Introduction to Labview and data acquisition boards

Creating the Threads

Laboratory writing experiences are also consistent

From beginning to end, the level is expect to improve

Emphasis on analysis of results

Students expected to develop their own procedures

Typical guidelines used for both laboratory courses are,

A standard lab format between all sections

Consistent expectations for the use of software

A written report in addition to normal labs - with a rewrite process

High level of grammar usage

Threads are maintained by making same instruments available, as well as new instruments

Future instrumentation is listed below, and will replace the current instruments

Tektronics scopes


Bi-polar current limiting power supplies

This will continue

Faculty from both disciplines often swap back and forth to teach labs - this creates an impression in the students mind that topics are not optional

The result is students that the level of writing and laboratory maturity increase substantially in the second course.